Menards NHRA Nationals
Presented by PetArmor
Event No. 11 of 20
Heartland Motorsports Park
Aug. 13 - 15, 2021
Driver of the Cookie and Candy Pop Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 11 (3.897 E.T. at 314.31 MPH)
E1: 3.776 E.T. at 319.75 MPH defeated by Steve Torrence 3.736 E.T. at 325.61 MPH
Fresh off of two consecutive final round appearances which included a win at the most recent event in Pomona, Calif., Leah Pruett entered Heartland Motorsports Park looking to keep her positive momentum rolling. After struggling during the Q1 ‘field setting’ session, Pruett and the Cookie and Candy Pop team found themselves in the No. 11 qualifying position and facing a tough round-one competitor in Steve Torrence. Against the point leader, Pruett was first on the throttle and made a respectable 3.776-second pass but found herself on the bad side of a good drag race when Torrence clocked a 3.736 E.T., ending Pruett’s chances at going two-for-two with Wally trophies.
Man, what a drag race that was. Not the result we wanted with this Candy and Cookie Pop car. We really felt like we had a race car to go rounds today, and we did. We would’ve beaten many other cars if you look at the ladder, except for Steve Torrence. There’s a reason that team is leading the points and he is a three-time champion. We overcame our challenges in qualifying and this isn’t going to get us down. We ran a great .77 and the team did their job. We left first and made a clean lap. It’s a great, friendly rivalry, but we were on the wrong end of that drag race. Brainerd (Minn.) is just around the corner and we found that we were down on power a little bit this week. We just need to give it a little more going into Brainerd next weekend, and we’ll put all the nitro to it.
Driver of the Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak
Qualified: No. 10 (8.011 E.T. at 175.64 MPH)
E1: 8.986 E.T. at 113.00 MPH defeated Doug Hamp (Foul; red light)
E2: 7.987 E.T. at 174.35 MPH defeated Daniel Condon 7.993 E.T. at 172.85 MPH
E3: 7.929 E.T. at 174.77 MPH defeated David Barton 7.883 E.T. at 175.66 MPH
E4: 8.808 E.T. at 169.76 MPH defeated by John Cerbone 7.912 E.T. at 174.32 MPH
Leah Pruett powered her 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak to another runner-up finish in her second consecutive final round battle in the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown series.
Pruett qualified 10th to start race day, setting up a round one meeting with Doug Hamp whose red light start enabled the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion to secure a bid in the quarterfinals. Her opponent, Daniel Condon, took the early lead, but Pruett chased him down in the lights for a nail-biter of a side-by-side victory. In the semifinals, Pruett was uber-fast on the tree, ripping off an .011 reaction time and a 7.929 second run to earn a solid holeshot win over No. 3 seed David Barton’s 7.883 E.T.
The final showdown pitted her against No. 1 qualifier John Cerbone, but this time, even after posting another quick reaction time, an immediate loss of traction derailed her run and gave her opponent the lead and eventual win. Pruett leaves Topeka ranked third in the Factory Stock championship rankings.
What an outstanding performance by this Dodge Factory Stock Drag Pak team all day long here at Topeka, adapting to challenging track conditions, being aggressive as the day got longer and hotter, and working on our performance window of this Mopar Drag Pak. I’m so proud of Kevin (Helms), A.J. (Berge), Mark Pawuk and this entire team here at DSR for sticking together. For me, it’s the fourth final in two different classes in the last four races, and two straight Factory Stock finals. We’re building momentum and we have plans to test and get better before the Indy U.S. Nationals. We’re back in the hunt and No. 3 in the points, and it’s very reminiscent of our 2018 season where we came on strong in the last half of the season and that was by no accident then or now. There’s been a lot of hard work by this DSR team and crew. I’ve had a smile on my face all day. I’m having a lot of fun driving this Drag Pak and we’re so looking forward to Indy.
Source: Don Schumacher Racing